brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks

Fresh Goods Friday 317

by 14

Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs, and slowly exhale. Breathe in again, feel the air reach every corner of your chest, and breathe out again. Slowly. Feel the tickle of the air as it passes your nose. Notice the slight breeze on your upper lip. As you exhale, let your shoulders relax. Keep breathing, letting tension go with every out breath. Don’t close your eyes though, or you won’t be able to read these instructions. Are you sitting comfortably, and balanced? Adjust your position so that with every out breath you feel more relaxed, more comfortable. Now would be a good time to put down that hot mug of tea. Give your toes a wriggle and let out the last of that tension. Good.

Now picture yourself cruising down a long grassy descent. You’re flying, wheels rolling over everything, limbs loose, relaxed. The smell of the grass releases as you rush by, there is no risk of slipping, the trails are perfect. The sun gently warms your back, but doesn’t get in your eyes. You could ride this descent for ever. You have no fear of crashing, just pure happiness at the joy of being alive, outside, on this glorious day.

Are you there? Can you picture it? Yes?

Give your toes another wriggle, make sure you’re still relaxed. Remember that happy descent. Hold that feeling.

Now you are ready to proceed. Should anything disturb you during the reading of this Fresh Goods Friday, just pause, wriggle your toes, and return to that happy place. Alternatively, have your credit card at the ready and reach for some retail therapy.

Brother Cycles Big Bro

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Stone Green paint job, with lashings of Hope anodized orange goodies. ERMAHGERD!

If you had an older brother growing up, do you remember looking up to him? Thinking how cool he was, and how you wanted to be like him when you grew up? Yeah so we’re guessing that’s how a lot of 29er steel mountain bikes are thinking about the Big Bro from Brothers Cycles. C’mon, JUST LOOK AT IT.

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Tough steel frame and matching rigid fork, though you can fit an 80mm suspension fork if you so desire.

The Big Bro is Brother Cycles’ 29in fully rigid mountain bike, which is packed full of features to make it bike packing-ready. It’s built from 4130 Chromoly steel, and it has masses of tyre clearance for up to 2.4in wide rubber. Brother Cycles claims that the Big Bro has been vigorously tested in a wide variety of environments, from lush wooded singletrack, through to the 2016 Tour Divide – a 2,700 mile mountain bike race from Canada to New Mexico. So versatility is the name of the game here.

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Bosses abound on the Big Bro frame, so you can bolt on bottle cages and Salsa Anything Cages to your heart’s content.
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Lots of ‘normal’ features on the Big Bro, including a 1 1/8in head tube and an English threaded bottom bracket. Regular external BB from Hope on this bad boy.
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Hope’s gorgeous CNC machined alloy crankset, complete with narrow-wide chainring and F20 pedals. Mmmm…
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
All the hills, or all the luggage.

The Hope 10-44t cassette offers a massive gearing range out back with the SRAM 11-speed derailleur. Oh, and note the sliding dropouts? You can use those to build up a Big Bro frame as a singlespeed, or you can simply play around with chain stay length.

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Brooks Cambium saddle. All class, all British.
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
And the gorgeous Hope Eternity carbon seat post. We nearly spent an eternity just looking at it.
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Hope stem and headset combo, finished off with a Soho Bikes headset top cap.
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Mmm so maybe the Renthal Fatbar Carbon isn’t quite the traditional bike packing choice, but who cares when the Big Bro looks like this?
brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
Hope disc brake, Hope disc rotor, and a Hope skewer in a tangerine orgy.

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks

There are 2.25in Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres fitted to our Big Bro test bike, but the frame and fork will take up to a 2.4in width if you want more cushin’ for the pushin’.

brother cycles big bro off road bikepacking touring hope brake crank pedal cassette orange bling shiny steel brooks
There is something oh so right about this.

So the Big Bro is going to be joining us on some upcoming adventures, where we’ll be putting its bike packing credentials to the test. We’re also planning on razzing around on it on some local singletrack, because…well…wouldn’t you??

Aussie Care Package

It’s like Wil is Wiggo. Mystery Package.

Along with the Big Bro that was built and shipped out to us via Soho Bikes in London, we also received this…what’s in Wil’s package?

aussie australian tim tam biscuit chocolate cherry ripe ginger beer
Wil assures us that all of these things are edible. We will be testing this concept.

Just in time for the winter weather, our Aussie office boy got a little bag of goodies from Soho Bikes. Wil may be shivering in the corner of the office wondering why the heck he’s in the north of England, but at least he’ll be full of…well, whatever it is that Australians eat. We suspect that any performance enhancing benefits from these are entirely psychological, although they may well turn your blood to sludge.

Hope R8+ LED Light

hope led light helmet handlebar rechargeable battery
So you like LED’s huh??

This sucker is the biggest, baddest, most powerful light that Hope offer. The machined alloy head unit is jammed full with 8 LEDs and a bifocal lens diffuser. You can mount it on the bars, or on your helmet, and the 6-Cell battery pack can also be mounted on your frame or tucked into a jersey pocket or backpack. Claimed output is a maximum of 4000 Lumens, and the battery pack has an integrated power gauge to show you how much juice you’ve got left.

Soho Bikes T-shirts

Rob dies a little bit inside.
Rob dies a little bit inside.

Is it the Rob Warner fan club or East17? New Andy (left – tech guy), and Newish Andi (middle – social media guy), are upsetting Rob Crayons (right). Imagine your dad and your uncle turn up to DJ the school disco and we think that’s about where Rob is right now. These are t-shirts for cool kids. Andies, we might be needing them back.

Oakley Mainlink Glasses & Prescription Lenses

Arty, huh?

These are single vision reactions lenses in Oakley Mainlink frames. So Hannah can SEE in the SUN. This is quite a revelation for her since contact lenses and her do not get on. These lenses are the standard reactor light option, however you can also upgrade to Essilor or Zeiss lenses, or request branded Oakley lenses too. Every time we’ve published a riding glasses test we’ve been asked about prescription options, so Hannah is going to test these out and let you know how she gets on. Watch this space. Boom ttssh. Oh go on.


Race Face Charge Leg Guards


Not pads for crash protection, these are soft guards to help stop those minor scrapes. Last time we tested them they got the Singletrack Recommended seal – they’re back in for our new pads for pedalling in grouptest.

Race Face Charge Sub-Zero Leg Guards

raceface_pads_7A thermal version of the Charges above, to keep the cold off your knees, as well as the scrapes.

Morvelo Rise And Descend Shorts


Here is Wil showing a little less alarming amount of leg, but we warn you know, there are more sights to come. These are baggies from Morvelo – lightweight ripstop fabric with water repellent finish.

R.A.D = Rise And Descend
It’s an order.

Morvelo Stealth Covert Gilet

Hide and seek?

We all know Wil loves a bit of modelling. Here he is posing in the Stealth Covert Gilet from Morvelo. It’s windproof, water resistant, and has pockets…


..a zippy pocket for your valuables…


…and three pockets on the back for your food and such. Plus a mesh rear panel to help stop you sweating.

Morvelo Covert Bibshorts

Wil’s tan is no more. He is one of us now.

Here we have bibshorts, also from the Covert range, which means…

Wil, loving the camera.

…pockets! Yup, they’re everywhere. The idea being that you can stash all the stuff you need about your person, without the need to carry a pack.

Morvelo Ambush MTB Covert Baselayer

The camera loving Wil.

A technical mesh baselayer…with pockets!

Blue Steel? We’re off the spectrum here.

Pockets are intended for stashing stuff in, but are also handy for striking poses.

Would you play hide and seek with Wil?

Morvelo Covert Soft Flask

Add your own caption.

A squishy squashy 500ml bottle for stuffing into one of those many pockets.


‘No, I’m not stroking my nipple’

Chipps and Wil have clearly been to two very different schools of modelling. Looking somewhat shifty, Chipps here is modelling this jacket from Gore which is made from stuff which is so futuristic we’ll likely all be wearing it when we set up a new colony in some yet to be discovered rainy planet. Because let’s face it, whatever habitable planet we find, it’s not going to have a nice summery climate is it, it’s going to be wet. And probably cold. But if there are trails then we won’t mind.

Shiny, like the future.

You may recall earlier this year the new ‘Gore One’ super lightweight jacket was launched. This is the latest product in this new Gore One line, and this GTX Pro fabric jacket is more rugged and robust than the featherweight jacket we saw previously, and is abrasion resistant. Matt black on the outside with a couple of small reflective patches, it’s a kind of silvery grey on the inside. It is, of course, waterproof.

Drop tail

There’s a drop tail for keeping the spray of your bottom, or to cover up your undies if your in low slung trousers.

Napoleon Pocket
Reflective patches, subtle branding.
Zips for ventilation

Gore claims this fabric offers maximum durability, is waterproof, windproof ad extremely breathable. We’re sending it off to Scotland for some thorough testing.


Chipps’ ‘warm and cosy happy face’.

Also from the Gore One range, this features the new ‘Gore Thermium’ fabric. This is an insulated fabric that is warm, windproof, water resistant and breathable.


It’s a lightweight jacket with PrimaLoft Gold insulation, designed to keep you warm without needing All The Layers. Like the GTX Pro fabric, it’s matt black. Again, we’re going to test this out in a far flung cold climate. Ok, yes, Scotland.

Lazer Ultrax+ Helmet

Colour: Matt Black Camo/Flash Yellow

Mark is taking no chances and is taking morning coffee safety seriously with this helmet from Lazer.


Or possibly he’s not taking it that seriously. The Ultrax+ uses the ‘Advanced TurnFit’ retention system so you can adjust it to fit your head. There’s also a slot at the back for putting in a reflector, or you can upgrade this to an LED should you so choose.

Colour: Matt White/Black

The helmet, which has an adjustable visor, comes in a range of colours….

Colour: Matt black camo/flash orange.

…so there’s no need to be all matchy matchy with your best friends.

Lazer Revolution Helmet

Colour: Matt Black Camo/Flash Green

With detachable ear protectors and adjustable visor this is for Enduro, and really dangerous coffee. You can also buy a chin guard for full Enduro, or coffee through a straw. It comes with multimounts for attaching lights or cameras to your helmet, and Lazer says it’s the first brand to provide ‘objective test reports of how the helmet passes impact testing with and without a camera mounted onto the helmet’.

Lazer J1 Youth Helmet

Also available as blue/orange, green/blue and purple/turquoise options.

Built to the same specifications as an adult helmet, this is a youth helmet rather than a children’s one. It’s a one size helmet, to fit 52-56cm heads.

Lazer Lara Women’s Helmet

Colour: Matt Bordeaux Gradient

Danger coffee is not just for boys…


…although Hannah did have to fight off the boys, who were rather keen on this purple-to-pink graded helmet, reminiscent of a Yes album cover. A multi purpose helmet with adjustable visor, weighing in at 290g for a small.

Lazer Marie Helmet

MASSIVE coffee. Look out world.

With 28 vents and weighing in at 245g for a medium, it’s a little lighter than the Lara. There are some subtle swirly lines at the back, which while pink and turquoise are sufficiently un-girly that again Hannah was having to fight off the boys.

Subtle swirls

Wolf Tooth ReMote

ReMote IS-II (for Shimano M7000/8000/9000 11-speed-generation brakes)

We spotted these at Interbike and now we have them for real. A robust remote for your dropper with a good grippy trigger.  The Delrin (fancy plastic) center axle is designed to break away in the event of a crash so as to spare the remote and bar.

ReMote MM (for SRAM/Avid MatchMaker X brake levers)

There are also ReMotes available for (10s-generation) Shimano I-Spec A & B brakes as well as a bar clamp.  The clamp is the most versatile brake- and location-wise, but won’t be available for another few weeks.

Wellgo B144 Flat Pedals

  • Price: £49.99
  • From: I-Ride
Also available in yellow, red or blue.

Cro-Mo axles and pedals with replaceable pins at a claimed weight of 384g a pair.

Slim profile.

Unite Components XT M8000 Grip Ring & Compact Guide E-mount

Designed and manufactured in the UK.

From Unite Components, a new company launched just this week in Wales, we have this chain guide and chain ring. The chain guide has a blackplate CNC machined from 6082 Aluminium, while the slider is CNC machined from engineering plastic. It is suitable for oval and standard chainrings, and can be fitted without removing the cranks.

The Grip Ring is CNC machined from 7075 aluminium. Unite Components explains that since large amount of wear occurs on the front face of chainrings, due to the extreme chain-line caused by 1x set ups, their extra wide alternating tooth profile improves both durability and retention for a longer period. As chains begin to stretch they start to bind in certain places, damaging the chain and ring; Grip Rings have specially machined recesses, which help to prevent this damage, increasing the longevity of the chainring and chain. The rear face carries very little of the wear from the chainring and so has been heavily recessed to clear mud in some of the worst conditions.

We have high hopes that something designed in the UK will be well suited to our gritty northern conditions, so we’ll be testing these out over the worst the winter has to offer.

Speedplay Brass Knuckles Flat Pedals

  • Price: £139.99
  • From:  I-Ride
13.5mm cage profile.

Slim and shiny, and like something Slim Shady might have in his pocket. With proprietary replaceable star-pattern studs.

Monster 12mm forged chrome-moly spindle

Each pedal runs on three precision bearings – two outboard cartridge bearings and an inboard needle bearing. The pedals can be serviced with a convenient built-in grease-injector port.

Maxxis Shorty 29×2.30 Tyres

  • Price: £
  • From:  Extra UK
Longerer shorties.

Last week we showed you the new WT wider width tyres, here we have the 2.3in tyres but for bigger wheels – 29ers. James thinks these might be just what he needs for his new Cotic longer termer.

Lezyne RAP-21 CO2 Multitool

Trail ninja.

This multitool has 20 functions plus an integrated CO2 cartridge dispenser. There’s another version with 14 functions plus the CO2 thingamajig, which slides off the 5mm bit. An internal sleeve unthreads from the chuck revealing the engagement port for a threaded CO2 cartridge. The head threads onto either a Presta or Shrader valve.

Lezyne Micro Floor Drive XL

For Fat Bike Flats.

The Micro Floor Drive XL is a portable hand pump with floor pump capabilities developed to efficiently inflate fat bike tires. An extra large, high volume barrel produces large amounts of air with each pump and can inflate tires up to 35 psi (2.4 bar). The long hose should make it easy to get the pump and your bike where you want them for easy inflation – no awkward balancing.

Innermost Nutrition Mixes

  • Price: £3 for 40g, £25 for 600g
  • From:  Innermost
Eeny meeny miny mo…

Nutrition products in vanilla or chocolate flavours aiming to support different lifestyle goals. ‘Health’ is for improving wellbeing and vitality, ‘Lean’ is to support weight-loss, ‘Strong’ is for strength and muscle gain, and ‘Fit’ is for energising, rehydration and recovery. Hannah thinks she needs all four and isn’t sure where to start. Elevenses, maybe?

Ergon GA2 Grips

If you look closely, this is an elephant with black tusks.

Single lock on grips that escaped last week’s Fresh Goods. These are the Gravity/Trail friends of the Enduro/Trail grips we brought you last week.

Bontrager Rhythm Mountain Shoes

  • Price: £139.99
  • From: Trek
Party shoes.

Tonight, we party on Rhythm Mountain. Mark is going to be dancing on the pedals in these GnarGuard equipped shoes. There’s some debate about the finish on the front – is it like dinosaur skin, the Giant’s Causeway, or manta ray skin? (No, we’ve no idea what manta ray skin looks like, this was Chipps’ observation). The soles are Tachyon rubber for grip off the bike. The sales pitch promises ‘The tech-savvy Rhythm Mountain shoe is built for comfort, speed and durability on even the most aggressive trails. Whether you’re racing enduro or shredding singletrack, Rhythm is the versatile, high-performance mountain shoe that will bring your skills to the next level’. We look forward to Mark reaching that next level.

Bontrager OMW Winter Shoes

  • Price: £219.99
  • From: Trek
OMW = Old Man Winter

These are for Wil, who has heard that sometimes we get cold white stuff falling from the sky. He has nothing to fear with these on the ends of his legs however. These have a fleece-lined, removable inner bootie with 200g 3M Thinsulate insulation, while that slightly kinky looking outer is a 4 way stretch OutDry waterproof membrane. There’s also a slightly roomier toe box so that you can get thicker socks in there.

Timetrial Biscuit

  • Price: priceless
  • From: Biscuiteers/Eurocamp


Sent to us to promote Airotel Eurocamp in the Pyrenees and Jungfrau Eurocamp in Switzerland. Hannah is quite keen to go as it sounds like the sort of thing that actually would mean ‘fun for all the family’, rather than ‘fun for half the family while the other half gets grumpy’. She is also slightly distracted by the idea of being a Biscuiteer … mmm … biscuits the size of mountains …

Nevermind big biscuits, that was a monster Fresh Goods. Almost as big as Dave the worm.

PIc Credit: Natural History Museum

Surely anyone that finds a giant worm and calls it Dave is a Singletrackworld Forumite? Quite astonishingly, there doesn’t (yet) appear to be a thread devoted to Dave the worm. Are these puns falling flat? What on earth are we talking about? Oh go on. Come and have a mango if you think you’re hard enough. Really, don’t google mango worms. Don’t. Do. It.

You did it, didn’t you. Press play below and return to the breathing exercises at the top.

See you next week! ST Out.

Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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